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Confrontation is not our choice, says Medvedev, EU ready for friendly ties with Russia

Russia Today, September 6, 2008, 20:24

Russia would welcome the prospect of improved relations with the West, but President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that it would not bow to external political pressure. The comments were made at the State Council meeting of Russia’s regions in the Kremlin, where the effort to reconstruct war-ravaged parts of South Ossetia was on the agenda.
The President also noted that Russia is planning to step up security measures within its own territory.

Medvedev said to the leaders of the Russian regions that there is no way to describe the crisis other than as war.

“The tragedy in South Ossetia showed that there are still reckless politicians whose actions are a threat to international law and order,” he said. “We have seen how a local frozen conflict turns into a major crisis with grave humanitarian consequences.”

Medvedev added that Russia doesn’t want any kind of confrontation with western nations, many of which currently criticise Russia for its actions in South Ossetia and Georgia.

The President reiterated that after Georgia launched its attack against South Ossetia in August, Russia had no other option than to defend its own citizens and the civilians of South Ossetia.

He said: “I would like to repeat. We didn’t want this war. We were forced to answer Georgia’s aggression. There isn’t a single country in the world that would tolerate its citizens and peacekeepers being killed. Russia was obliged to save the people.”

And commenting on the fact that NATO launched major support for Georgia by sending humanitarian cargo by warships, Medvedev said it would be interesting to see what NATO’s reaction would be if Russia sent its warships to the Caribbean to help the nations hit by the recent hurricane.

“We didn’t get a word of support from those who, in similar circumstances, were speaking lots about freedom of choice, national dignity and use of force to punish aggressors. Unfortunately these countries continue to arm the Georgian regime under the flag of humanitarian aid.”

EU ready for friendly ties with Russia

September 6, 2008, 18:12

The EU says it’s determined to maintain friendly relations with Russia despite the tension created by the conflict in South Ossetia. The statement was made at a meeting of European foreign ministers in the French city of Avignon. The union is also calling on Russia and Georgia to abide by the EU-brokered ceasefire agreement.
The implementation of the deal is to be discussed during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Moscow on Monday.

The EU is looking to increase its role in stabilising the region following the recent conflict. Measures will range from sending observers to Georgia's border with South Ossetia, to launching an investigation into the reasons behind the war.

The ministers are also discussing sending humanitarian aid to Georgia and giving help to restore its economy.

On relations with Russia, the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said sanctions are not the way forward.

“Sanctions is not our word,” he said. “We must find understanding, we must find a way to solve the particular problems. Do you believe really that sanctions can help, and what kind of sanctions would be efficient? Diplomacy and politics are not only made of sanctions.”

To watch the full media conference of the EU foreign ministers, please follow the link.

The meeting comes just four days after an emergency summit in Brussels, at which EU leaders denounced Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

International parliamentarians visit South Ossetia

Meanwhile, an international parliamentary delegation is already in South Ossetia. The main goal of the trip is to clarify the sequence of recent events in the region.

The group consists of members of parliament and public representatives from several European and CIS countries.

They will be joined by a delegation from Russia.

The officials will meet local residents, before heading to the neighbouring republic of North Ossetia, which hosted large numbers of refugees after the conflict.

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